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02-03-2008, 02:29 PM   #1
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Pentax vs Minolta round 1

After using the K10D for a good month at work I can make a very rough comparison to the Konica-Minoltas I've used before (applies to the Sony system as well) about pros and cons.
There's two really weighty advantages to Pentax:
1. The DNG output. Wish every camera maker would adapt this instead of camera-specific RAW files that are a problem for software makers and consumers now and for everybody a few years from now.
2. The wide-angle lenses, 14 mm and 12-24 mm. Very odd indeed that no other lens line-up includes these two lenses that are for APS-C what the workhorses 20 mm and 17-35 were for 35 mm. These are just about indispensable for a reporter.

Now the cons - and this is only relative to the Konica-Minoltas of which I have experience. They all belong to the category ergonomics.

1. You don't have a catch-all setting for focus, like the Minolta A-setting which is supposed to automatically switch between single and continuous focus, and to some degree even works.
2. You cannot choose to always have release priority for the shutter. So if you are on C-focus your release will stick all too often in low light.
3. Theres no really handy way of balancing ambient light and flash (direct or bounce). As a press photographer this is what you just about every time have to do , in settings with quickly moving subjects and bad light. Minolta has the very handy AEL-button that allows you to pick a light reading and set the camera to slow flash sync just by pressing one button once.
4. The flash operations have too many variables (f e setting the output both at the external flash and the camera) and hence too much uncertainty. I wouldn't dare trying wireless flash in a real situation with Pentax.
5. The Minolta flash shoe is simply far better than the ISO one.

I know there's a lot of people on the forum who know a lot of more pro's for the K10D. These are just my reflections on features that are important for press work or something resembling it. And I'm only comparing the mentioned cameras.
The jury is still out on wether I will continue with Pentax or the new Sonys. I will be interested to hear about the handling features of the K20D, if there has been any improvement. As far as pixels are concerned 10.6 is quite enough for me and my work but who listens.
- Mathias

02-03-2008, 03:07 PM   #2
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Mathias,

Great to see another minolta/sony/pentax user. I used the maxxum 5D for about 2 years, and then the A700 for a few months before I sold them both and got the K10D. The thing that prompted me to do this was the amazing prime lens collection that Pentax has. I still have a bunch of minolta glass (28/2, 50/1.4, 135/2.8, 200/2.8G) that I am not going to sell anytime soon. I might get a Sony A500 if they ever release one, but until then I think I am going to stick with Pentax.

I always think of Nikon/Canon as the equivalent to Windows/PC in computers. Lots of support, everyone knows about it, but not the best design or user experience. Minolta/Sony is very much like Apple/mac: excellent design, very well thought out menus, excellent lenses (I'd argue better than nikon/canon/pentax), but a little pricey. Pentax is kind of like linux. The camera is amazingly customizable. Very affordable and high quality glass.

I am still getting used to the position of the front wheel on the K10D, and I certainly think the A700 has an upper hand when it comes to ergonomics. But I am in love with the ability to view the current ISO in the viewfinder, and adjust it so easily. I find autofocus a little slower than the A700 (I think the maxxum 5D was similar), but it is definitely usable.

The thing that I am most looking forward to with Pentax is the amazing range of primes. I only have the 43/1.9 right now, and am saving up for the other limiteds. The new 15mm sounds very interesting, as does the DA 30mm and DA*55mm. On the Sony side, I have drooled for the CZ lenses, but I just don't have enough money for them right now... maybe some day. I seriously think that Sony and Pentax lens lineups complement each other very well. Minolta has always had one of the best zoom lenses, and Pentax the best primes. And if you add Carl Zeiss to the mix, you have the best lens system. Now if only I could use them all on the same camera...
02-03-2008, 03:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
I wouldn't dare trying wireless flash in a real situation with Pentax.
I have a major event shoot for a magazine this weekend and know I'll need to use wireless fill flash and am actually genuinely worried because it is so darn unpredictable, even in full manual.
02-03-2008, 03:19 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ankit Quote
Mathias,

Minolta has always had one of the best zoom lenses, and Pentax the best primes. And if you add Carl Zeiss to the mix, you have the best lens system. Now if only I could use them all on the same camera...
Well you do know that Carl Zeiss recently released some very nice primes in Pentax and Nikon Mount right? Manual focus only though, and they aren't available in Minolta/Sony mount!

SLC

02-03-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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I too migrated from Minolta/sony to Pentax and the K10D. I also miss release priority, and find it a bit strange that a camera at this level don't have it. But overall i'm very pleased. Above all i love the "feel" of the camera. And while many complain about its low light af performance and tracking (dis)ability, it is way, way better than the A100 and the KM 5D i had. I was also very happy to rediscover my old m-lenses. Now i understand why i never worried about wide open sharpness etc back then. They are just so damn good. I also like the K10D jpgs (surprised?) . Both from the sony and the minolta the jpgs were often too oversaturated, with clipped reds as a result. And way oversharpened with lots of sharpening artifacts. I thought i'd be shooting Raw all the time, but if the subjects aren't too complicated, the jpgs are just fine, and works very good in PP.
02-03-2008, 03:24 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by SLC Flyfishing Quote
Well you do know that Carl Zeiss recently released some very nice primes in Pentax and Nikon Mount right? Manual focus only though, and they aren't available in Minolta/Sony mount!

SLC
Yes, part of the reason for trying out Pentax Though I feel it is only a matter of time before they release them for the Sony mount. It is interesting that they are releasing a very different set of lenses for the Sony mount.
02-03-2008, 04:46 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
After using the K10D for a good month at work I can make a very rough comparison to the Konica-Minoltas I've used before (applies to the Sony system as well) about pros and cons.
There's two really weighty advantages to Pentax:
1. The DNG output. Wish every camera maker would adapt this instead of camera-specific RAW files that are a problem for software makers and consumers now and for everybody a few years from now.
2. The wide-angle lenses, 14 mm and 12-24 mm. Very odd indeed that no other lens line-up includes these two lenses that are for APS-C what the workhorses 20 mm and 17-35 were for 35 mm. These are just about indispensable for a reporter.

Now the cons - and this is only relative to the Konica-Minoltas of which I have experience. They all belong to the category ergonomics.
I used a Dynax 700si and a Dimage 7i for many years. Went to Pentax because they took so damn long bringing out an SLR.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
1. You don't have a catch-all setting for focus, like the Minolta A-setting which is supposed to automatically switch between single and continuous focus, and to some degree even works.
2. You cannot choose to always have release priority for the shutter. So if you are on C-focus your release will stick all too often in low light.
C focus always has release priority, S focus always has focus priority (K20D can disable the latter). You can also set up the AF button to disable focus from the shutter button to give full release priority independent of the AF system.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
3. Theres no really handy way of balancing ambient light and flash (direct or bounce). As a press photographer this is what you just about every time have to do , in settings with quickly moving subjects and bad light. Minolta has the very handy AEL-button that allows you to pick a light reading and set the camera to slow flash sync just by pressing one button once.
Dont get you here at all. If the flash is set to slow synch, the meter reading will be ambient. (If its set to auto, it will use the flash exposure to achieve the program line setting). You can adjust flash and camera EV independently.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
4. The flash operations have too many variables (f e setting the output both at the external flash and the camera) and hence too much uncertainty. I wouldn't dare trying wireless flash in a real situation with Pentax.
This is simple, the two are additive. The AF540 usually requires about a stop +EV so I set this on the gun as my default, then if I need to adjust flash relatively I do it on the camera.
QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
5. The Minolta flash shoe is simply far better than the ISO one.
Unless you want to use an ISO accessory like any of my radio triggers or IR triggers!!

QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
I know there's a lot of people on the forum who know a lot of more pro's for the K10D. These are just my reflections on features that are important for press work or something resembling it. And I'm only comparing the mentioned cameras.
The jury is still out on wether I will continue with Pentax or the new Sonys. I will be interested to hear about the handling features of the K20D, if there has been any improvement. As far as pixels are concerned 10.6 is quite enough for me and my work but who listens.
- Mathias
Well having used both I would now stick with the Pentax more because of local Sony presence and service than any other reason.

The P flash system needs a really good tutorial, but it works as well as any other when you figure it out. If you want reliable P/TTL performance I would recommend a Metz flash in preference to a Pentax though.

There were a few things I missed from my Dynax but I got used to it, and on the Pentax I particularly like the fact you can customise the function of front and back dials, I love the green button for resetting ambient exposure in manual mode, and even the little cut-out for filters on the lens hoods.
02-03-2008, 04:49 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
3. Theres no really handy way of balancing ambient light and flash (direct or bounce). As a press photographer this is what you just about every time have to do , in settings with quickly moving subjects and bad light. Minolta has the very handy AEL-button that allows you to pick a light reading and set the camera to slow flash sync just by pressing one button once.
Sorry if I misunderstood, but isn't that what the green button on K10D does ?

02-03-2008, 04:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by blwnhr Quote
I have a major event shoot for a magazine this weekend and know I'll need to use wireless fill flash and am actually genuinely worried because it is so darn unpredictable, even in full manual.
Please explain your problem, maybe I can help (I use it all the time). I have never come across any flash system that I would describe as predictable but if I set my AF540 to +1EV its pretty consistent. For ambient fill, I generally use manual mode at F8 and set the flash to about 1/2 or 1/4 depending on distance and softeners, then adjust ambient using shutter speed. Seems to work pretty well.
02-03-2008, 05:03 PM   #10
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I am migrated from Minolta as well And i want to ask all of you .Did you try Minolta lenses to pentax 10D?.adorama has adapter .But i never can find out.May you can help .I love my older Minolta lenses.Thank you Mikhail
02-04-2008, 12:45 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote
Please explain your problem, maybe I can help (I use it all the time). I have never come across any flash system that I would describe as predictable but if I set my AF540 to +1EV its pretty consistent. For ambient fill, I generally use manual mode at F8 and set the flash to about 1/2 or 1/4 depending on distance and softeners, then adjust ambient using shutter speed. Seems to work pretty well.
That's what I mean: how many operations can you count above? Compared to pressing one button, once?
- Mathias
02-04-2008, 02:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote
Please explain your problem, maybe I can help (I use it all the time).
I've used it a couple of times, and for most of the people I am shooting they just want a photo then walk. The problems I've been having is even after setting up manual pretty well the flash still blows out the photo. You need to muck about with a few flash strength settings which loses the interest of the subject and thus the shot.

P.S. I'm using a Sigma EF-500 Super.
02-04-2008, 03:19 AM   #13
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I came from KM A2, the K10D looked like the best progression.
Both have good handling and photographer oriented ideas built in.
02-04-2008, 04:48 AM   #14
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The thread is beginning to disintegrate along different lines, quite naturally. What I wanted to do was to bring up the observations I think might be of use for others contemplating a switch to Pentax - or to Sony, for that matter.
I really liked the analogy in a reply early on:
// I always think of Nikon/Canon as the equivalent to Windows/PC in computers. Lots of support, everyone knows about it, but not the best design or user experience. Minolta/Sony is very much like Apple/mac: excellent design, very well thought out menus, excellent lenses (I'd argue better than nikon/canon/pentax), but a little pricey. Pentax is kind of like linux. //
This gives you an idea of what you are getting in to.
It's also evident that what you like is often what you've been brought up with. I tried to single out factors that are also objectively different. I'm willing to learn more and will naturally do it (using the green button, for example) since of course sticking with what I have is cheaper and easier than upgrading once again.
Actually I did not get a single comment on the pros for Pentax, the wide-angle lenses and the DNG output. Am I the only one to think these are important?
– Mathias
02-04-2008, 05:06 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
That's what I mean: how many operations can you count above? Compared to pressing one button, once?
- Mathias
If you are shooting manual, this is always going to take longer. If I want to use PTTL auto mode all I have to do is turn on the flash in the right mode. I dont understand your problem.

Perhaps this will help....the following table tells you which flash modes default to fill and shich to auto. If you use any "fill" mode the camera will meter for ambient light and the flash will just provide fill which you can adjust if necessary.

http://i.pbase.com/o6/89/257389/1/83050177.nxAspXBD.Flashmodes.jpg

Let me know if you have any specific questions.
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